Architecture Redémarré: L’Aiguille De Cléopâtre (Architecture Rebooted: Cleopatra’s Needle)

Diary 11: Architecture Redémarré: L’Aiguille De Cléopâtre (Architecture Rebooted: Cleopatra’s Needle)

An expedition that would with ease surpass most of my wildest dreams would be to venture out to the mustard yellow and ochre lands once ruled by the divinely ordained pharaohs, conquered by Greeks and Romans, usurped by colonial interests and the site of some of the most profound archaeological treasures ever found on earth. That land is, of course, Egypt. What was endlessly humorous upon my return from Paris is that those who laid eyes on my photographic exhibit presented below believed that they had just been made the horrendous victim of nifty deception, refusing to accept my story that I had jumped over the pond to France, they instead endorsed more exotic theories about secret travels among the ruins of pyramids and tombs in the Near East!

Unfortunately, as amazingly epic their arguments were, I could not vindicate them. My lens had captured a bewitching scene at the end of a fine day in…. Paris! I came upon an ancient Egyptian obelisk constructed thousands of years before the reign of the tragic Greek pharaoh and queen, Cleopatra, its name was still attributed to her as ‘Cleopatra’s Needle’, and that which had the mysterious essences of aliveness, dominance and atmospheric vitality. Emanating an undeniable impression of its ageless function, as if still stood erect and presiding over the people of ancient Egypt; unlike ‘Lot’s Wife’, the Needle unseen beneath ocean waves, this Needle could be seen and it captivated my attention as tight as a tightrope!

Its twin pair to this day remaining in Luxor, the Paris Needle was constructed during the 19th Dynasty, at the time of the reign of the great Ramesses II and is covered in beautiful hieroglyphics whose inscriptions Victoriously praise the royal splendour and bountifulness of the King, he who is forever under the blissful protective eye of both Horus and Ra, the Sun God. In the golden fires of the evening sky I contemplated the marvel of Destiny’s connective tissue that spanned over borders, the symbology of the healing and unifying Needle had taken a liking to following my footfalls wherever I went in the world. I promise to not to make a big deal of it when I reach Egypt someday, I am sure the impact of any telling of a story that attempts to highlight the spiritual relationship between Needle architecture and myself will not unleash the same potency in its tale from such localities since Needles are to be found everywhere in those lands! Should I find a snowflake in the desert, on the other hand, I shall be sure to inform You at the earliest opportunity…  :))

EPILOGUE: A needle can induce as much harm to one, as it can, good. Just released in the Indian press today is the rather morbid case of the ‘Needle Man’ who has been terrorising poor folk with his stash of hypodermic needles, injecting them into people, and then escaping the scene on a bike wearing a mask. What a tragedy, indeed. I should love to attend a line-up of suspects, for my sniff of the criminally insane would instantly detect the nasty culprit after which I would overrule all formal police disciplinary procedures and simply go ahead and stick my ‘Cleopatra’s Needle’ in his arm so that he may get a taster of what it is like to be attacked in this way! I pray that he is caught soon! Why are You sweating…? :))

LINK: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/police-on-alert-to-nab-needle-man-rajappa/article7597855.ece

Archiecture Rebooted: Cleopatra's Needle

“… I came upon an ancient Egyptian obelisk constructed thousands of years before the reign of the tragic Greek pharaoh and queen, Cleopatra, its name was still attributed to her as ‘Cleopatra’s Needle’, and that which had the mysterious essences of aliveness, dominance and atmospheric vitality…”

             

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Place De La Concorde | Paris | France 2015

Trésors Du Louvre: Quand Le Ciel Et La Terre Baiser (Treasures Of The Louvre: When Heaven And Earth Kissed)

Diary 10: Trésors Du Louvre: Quand Le Ciel Et La Terre Baiser (Treasures Of The Louvre: When Heaven And Earth Kissed)

The winged Cupid – I do get ticklishly warm just reading the word made by the first three letters of his name! – has become besieged with unhindered passion and soft tenderness as he gazes down into the eyes of his one true beloved, Psyche, whom he has awoken from the imprisonment of infinite sleep just moments ago with the kiss of Life. Pysche Revived By Cupid’s Kiss, a Neoclassical masterpiece fashioned out of marble by Antonio Canova, depicts a sacred moment between two Lovers, ravaged by innumerable obstacles but who were destined to unite. The logical conclusion to their tale of Desire was consummated at the last of when Hope was thought lost.

I was tremendously impressed by its lack of a singular primary point of view, You must circle around it to read all the many stories that surround the mythological narrative of Cupid and Psyche, and it is more than likely that in each circumnavigation You will collect a new piece of the bigger picture, forming one of multiple substantiating reasons why this sculptural beauty is accredited with the fame that it enjoys today. I was particularly appealed by the absence of a single perspective that would allow the viewer to see the faces of both Lovers. If Cupid’s tender stare was visible at one view, Psyche’s expression became hidden. If Psyche’s face is assigned priority for observation then Cupid’s disappears completely. While some critics have interpreted this mutually-exclusive play of perspective as afflicting an exhaustive pressure on the viewer, I, for one, completely disagree. Pardon me should I sound flamboyantly idealistic however, my heart was born of the conviction that if the Love is true then the reflection of the Beloved can always be admired in its all authentic glory in the face of the Lover.

On that day in the Louvre, the sun glistened as white Light and it poured in through the window, pious in substance and only equalled to the breath of angels, ushering my feet to step towards and pause at the angle shown in my photograph. I saw the winged Cupid of the skies, his face adorned in purest Light that came from the hidden but shimmering face of Psyche below, fired by her ecstasy growing in intensity as she gradually is made to come to her waking senses. So it echoes that the visible rests in the hidden, and the hidden in the visible.

You let Your eyes fly above my words every single day, gliding over my photographs in wingless manoeuvres, and amateurish though I am, You do not perceive them as such, releasing always a sigh of relief and comfort to know that I have not erased my sincerity towards the welfare of Your heart. I choose to remain hidden so that You may reign and shine as like the first shard of yawn that sings the song of Daybreak… :))

Treasures Of The Louvre: When Heaven And Earth Kiss

“… a sacred moment between two Lovers, ravaged by innumerable obstacles but who were destined to unite. The logical conclusion to their tale of Desire was consummated at the last of when Hope was thought lost…”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Musée Du Louvre | Paris | France 2015

 

Trésors Du Louvre: Une Histoire D’Amour Echo (Treasures Of The Louvre: A Love Story Echoed)

Diary 9: Trésors Du Louvre: Une Histoire D’Amour Echo (Treasures Of The Louvre: A Love Story Echoed)

I am as comfortable in the chambers of museums as I am so in my own home, these magnificent kingdoms of treasures for the intellect, heart and soul remedy my thirst to be enlightened by the worlds of the past but in doing so they invariably strike new lines of enquiry and thus I relish, as opposed to writhe, at the prospect that I shall never know everything there is to know because I am a creature of endless questioning.  So sorry to be a pain!

It would have registered as a gross misconduct of epic proportions had I not compiled a series of photographic tales pertaining to the world’s largest and most visited museum, The Louvre. I have picked up the rather mind-boggling fact that if anyone were to be mad enough to methodically analyse each artefact in its impressive collections it would take approximately 9 months to scale the entire lot! I actually would fancy myself having such a job although I suppose my absence from the classroom would not be tolerated and I can imagine demonstrations of student protests for my return, consequently driving the Principle bonkers and eventually leading to the demise of the reputation for which my college is known! Yikes!

Once an established fortress in the 12th Century, whose crypts are remarkably still in existence below ground level and which I explored with glee, later reincarnated its purpose as royal palaces, residence of some rather decadent French royals until a little something called the French Revolution came along and the entire colossal expanse of the premises was transformed into a public museum, decreed as a centre of excellence and prestige for the gathering of artefacts that were to be on presentation for the betterment of public knowledge. And that is why I have managed to bring You some choice nuggets – not literally of course! – from my visitation, otherwise had Louis XVI still been on the throne You might have seen my defeated face on the gallows! Yikes again!

Before You get all excited I should like to inform You at the outset that I HAVE taken a photograph of the Mona Lisa HOWEVER I am disinclined to reveal it to You because after personally viewing it myself I am extremely of the position that it is imbued with such inexplicable mystery and magic that, for those who have not observed her in person, must do so in their lifetime. My photograph of it hardly does any justice to De Vinci’s masterpiece and since he is a fellow polymath I shall honour furthermore and state that to experience the notoriously elusive Mona Lisa smile You must pay her a visit Yourself! Giggle, giggle!

But, there were some other world famous artefacts that I was drawn to even more and whose photo diary I shall impart to You because encoded in their art are the compelling bridges that link You and I. Today, I present to You my personal favourite, The Winged Victory of Samothrace, a 2nd Century Greek marble sculpture of moonshine quality depicting the Goddess Nike which translates as Victory. Built not only in her honour but to commemorate a naval victory over a battle that occurred on sea, she stands tall, adorned in flowing drapery kissed by her beloved sea breezes, her wings outstretched but her feet touching ground, suggesting that the artist intended the viewer to form the impression that she was descending onto the prow of the winning ship. I do wonder if that ship was entitled ‘Win-chester’? Oh so sorry for the mild deviation!

It never once lessened the powerful impact the statue had on the senses despite it missing a head and both arms. The anonymity only served to cast an aura of universalism and the unperceivable mystery of the Divine. It is believed that her right arm was raised, cupped around her mouth as she shouted “Victory!” to her fleet.  The tip of her ring finger has been discovered and is located next to the statue. I was in wordless awe at how something so physically incomplete, missing the parts we associate with the movement of Life itself, was complete in perfection and beauty and in the conveyance of its authenticity of triumph and joy. Pieces missing and yet everything fell into place, I looked up at Nike and felt one more mirror had been placed in front of me, she and I were in the same boat.

Millions of tourists had gathered close to her with their weaponry, their selfie-sticks, risking their lives so it seemed just so that they can acquire that prized photograph of their face next to Nike. It was impossible for me to capture anything in that hive of crowds and my limited focal distance on Laika implied that a tactical zoom shot was out of the question. Yet, the lightbulb is always switched on above my head and very rapidly a new idea gave rise. I would move away, as faraway as possible from the bustling crowd and see what gifts of sight would proffer onto my lap.

Skipping behind everyone and climbing up the stairs I re-orientated my eyes at Nike and….. BEHOLD, I saw her, for the first time, in a completely different light because she no longer appeared as a standalone artefact, she had become peacefully at one with the hallowed walls of the Louvre itself. Instead of the rushing motion and ecstasy of Victory previously sensed, there was now stillness, peace and humility, a calm awakening to the Light of the Eternal Divine. I chose to entitle this scene ‘A Love Story Echoed’ to capture in concise words my belief that the yearning of the Soul for the Divine is time and time again qualitatively recreated in the longings of all Lovers who live from the well of a Good Heart… :))

EPILOGUE: Nike is one of many strong female figures who inspired me to take the teacher’s chair and sprinkle Good Magic on those who came through my door so that they too may recognise of the moonshine wings that grow out of their backs, that they were meant for liberation, for flying. The link below will direct You to what I was once, on the left, and what I am today, on the right, always with the moonshine blossom of Tea in cupped hand… :))

LINK: https://www.facebook.com/MatildaTheMusical/photos/a.181882601890613.47160.120545018024372/897515373660662/?type=1&theater

Treasures Of The Louvre: A Love Story Echoed

“… she no longer appeared as a standalone artefact, she had become peacefully at one with the hallowed walls of the Louvre itself. Instead of the rushing motion and ecstasy of Victory previously sensed, there was now stillness, peace and humility, a calm awakening to the Light of the Eternal Divine…”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Musée Du Louvre | Paris | France 2015

Métropolitain (The Paris Metro)

Diary 8: Métropolitain (The Paris Metro)    

I sigh a long drawn out breath and admit that too many times it has been the case that I have circulated excited jibber-jabber on the topic of the London Underground transport system but there is no cure for it, I am comfortably helpless in front of my geeky appetite and admiration for all things associated with trains! Should You need to incriminate a villain for this treacherous habit then I advise You seek out the Krishna-blue suited one who chugs out fragrant columns of steam with a smile on his face whenever he arrives at my platform! Giggle, giggle!

I dare You to form a conjecture of the size of the spectacular burst of thrilling jumps I made when I laid my viciously probing eyes on the Parisian’s answer to the Underground system! Lavished entrances blazing above with retro Art Noveau style architecture, immediately I was netted into whiffing scents of old worlds, times gone by, and artistic and bohemian extravagance that shimmered in the dramatic flair by which ‘Métropolitain was penned. In comparison to the no-frills London Underground choice of signage, a great big circle lined in red, the Parisians had once more enforced their commitment for stylistic flair, even if it was on the most mundane of objects on the street, to produce an atmosphere of sultry cabaret, enticing Your movements towards it for closer and more devoted inspection! Had that been the order of the day in the more conservative streets of London I would have had rotten tomatoes and tattered shoes thrown at me!

Not forgetting my expressed compliments for the Parisian’s dedication to relaying the artistic vision in all aspects of their life, the metro included, there is an additional rationale that motivated my fingers to click the image below. I cannot explain why my mind works in the way it does, however I see things – or I am meant to see things – always in the service for Your entertainment and enlightenment. Lost in translation? Oh do stop sulking otherwise I shall confiscate Your smartphone, never will it make acquaintance with Your palms again! I will be merciful and tell You what I saw inside ‘Métropolitain’. A set of anagrams that proved the umpteen time that Destiny had taken to a spot of prancing about in the brilliance of the yellow canvas, my eyes deciphered FOUR very, berry, merry magical words, pieces that had taken covert habitation – like the way I am in Your imagination – inside the word:

Métropolitain is made of…

  1. Pir: The Teacher whose quest is to inspire the Fool to grow into the Wise man
  2. Lit: The Teacher whose Orange Vision forever strives to light the path ahead
  3. Moon: The Teacher who inspires a crescent moon smile in all whom she touches
  4. Tea: The Teacher who is gladdened in heart when her student brings her a cup of Tea… :))

To perceive it as a mere coincidence is symptomatic of the lazy mind. Did I not say to You once that, similar to the world’s greatest metro systems, You and I are connected…  :))

Metropolitain

“… the Parisians had once more enforced their commitment for stylistic flair, even if it was on the most mundane of objects on the street, to produce an atmosphere of sultry cabaret, enticing Your movements towards it for closer and more devoted inspection…”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Paris | France 2015

 

      

Mon Etalon Péruvienne, Anternor! (My Peruvian Stallion, Anternor!)

Diary 7: Mon Etalon Péruvienne, Anternor! (My Peruvian Stallion, Anternor!)

Aah…your accent is… so…so… clear and…erm… beautiful. I understand every word you saying. I can listen and listen you know…”, the broken English was shyly spoken with a detectable hint of breathless eagerness, our delightfully congenial and warm spirited hotel receptionist, the wonderful Mr Anternor from Peru, plunged instantly under my spell!

Always acting with routine formality when he served the other customers, in my presence he adorably thrust his chest out and beamed smiles so wide that I would urge climate scientists to consider his ebullient nature as one of the fundamental causes of the growing meltdown of icebergs at the two poles of the planet!

So tell me, where are you from? You speak is so so so…..mmmmm. Not like Americans, I can never understand what they say!” Anternor’s shoulders were in the throes of a subtle sway, this chap was decisively smitten by my voice and my eloquence of speech and I rewarded him with a teasing pause in which time the black of his pupils grew larger.

I am very touched by your compliments, thank you so very much! I am from England, a small town with a formidable regal history, it is called Winchester”, I simply loved how time and time again I was given the opportunity to widen the audience of acquaintances who come to know about my tiny city in which I grew up in.

Aah, never been there. I been to Oxford and London. London, very expensive! Next time, I go to your town to see you, ok?”  Mr Anternor’s enthusiasm was truly inspiring, what a darling of a man! He did not come across as the creepy sort that most of You might have jumped to the conclusion to at this point. Far from it, Mr Anternor’s character shone with the honeyed nostalgia of the friendliness of strangers one tends to find in the countryside. For me, he was a fellow kindred spirit, complimenting my own connecting nature and, evidencing confirmation once again that even in the greatest of cities, irrespective  of their impersonal and alienating maps, You are bound to make at least one good mate! I found mine in Mr Anternor, my Peruvian stallion!

Of course, of course, it will be an amazing pleasure to welcome you to Winchester! Do come and see me, I shall be waiting!” And to these words Mr Anternor lifted off the ground a few inches, he had received the best commission of the day!

Thank you, thank you. You know, your voice…. I….I think very nice…” He was definitely Peruvian, for he felt no shame at all in being a man and at the same time expressing what he felt at heart without offending the lady. He mastered it with style, class, and sincerity.

I seriously did want to give him a huge bear hug and to tell him that he ought to sit down and rest with a cup of tea! I had tired him far too much! But it was what he said next that brought to crystal light the true reason that lay behind this comical exchange of dialogue.

“Your voice beautiful…. calm…. clear… peaceful…. I think you must be…. er……. er doctor, right…?”

I knew in my heart, before the conversation had taken root, that he had already painted my soul in the picture of a healer.

Well, I am a kind of doctor….

I swear Anternor’s eyes had walked out of their alcoves. Cautiously they floated closer to my face, they wished to capture the entirety of what I had reserved to reveal to him, so as to complete my preceding truncated sentence.

I am a Teacher…

Anternor’s face lit up like the moon…   :))

My Peruvian Stallion, Anternor

“… Far from it, Mr Anternor’s character shone with the honeyed nostalgia of the friendliness of strangers one tends to find in the countryside. For me, he was a fellow kindred spirit…”

EPILOGUE: This transcript is NOT a work of fiction. If You are plagued by disbelief then may I suggest You get in touch with my brother and sister, Ab and Jen Jens. They were stood in the lobby the whole time, impatiently! Giggle, giggle!

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Our Hotel | Paris | France 2015

La Voie De Bijou De Paris (The Trinket Streets Of Paris)

Diary 6: La Voie De Bijou De Paris (The Trinket Streets Of Paris)

My most admired secret Spy and Reader, hark Your memory back to those few posts of the past in which I drew – without any grown-up inhibitions – comparisons between myself and that of the little explorer who took a fantastic dive in a rabbit hole only to find herself in a whole new world whose natural grain was of the most unnatural order.  Her name, of course, was Alice and the world that I speak of is Wonderland.  A firm resident of my ever-swelling library at home, Alice and I are carbon copies of each other, we do not have a hope in the world to survive without some sort of adventure under our sleeves! The air we breathe is second to our first priority in Life: To actively seek out knowledge and to share it out to others so that it births sunshine in whomsoever chances upon it.

If You have not had the supreme pleasure of reading Lewis Carrol’s masterpiece then I suggest You get off Your horse and make a run for the nearest bookshop now, for the significance of the photograph that I present to You this evening will only become clear and resonant if You are learned in the story that pulses backstage.

Once again You squirm and coil in tortuous anguish. What on earth is she babbling about now, You huff out! Your mind has already leapt to the monochrome photograph of the street stall stacked with artistic collectables, and the posters hang as if they were clothes left out to be dried by the sun or, for the photographically orientated eye, You might liken the scene to an outdoor red room! Well, the story was that I happened to have splintered away from my siblings somewhere over the River Seine, my senses exuberantly infatuated by the many streets-side stalls crazed with trinkets of all shapes and sizes. Dusty old covers of LPs, vintage books whose smells would require new adjectives, and film prints of pivotal films from the sea of noir that is French cinema. All fluttered in the breeze, but ONE, yes ONE, poster found me. IT found me and not the other way round. Le Corbeau translates as ‘The Raven’, the plot synopsis is rather sinister and macabre and I had never heard of it but that was not why it peers out so prominently in this photograph. It shone with singular energy because I knew in my gut – in my tummy – that it would serve me well in the future. Literally! You see, in Alice In Wonderland, a notoriously famous and world class riddle is cited by the Mad Hatter to Alice for which she cannot reply with an answer.

The riddle is as follows: “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

I shall now prove to You that Magic does walk with me. A nonsensical riddle will always refuse a smooth and uncluttered consensus however if You click on the link below and read the first line in the main box that begins with ‘The answer..’ , the chances are that You will either sink in a puddle inundated by tears of joy, or burn Your bubble cheeks in ravishing strawberry blushes! Whichever it is, be prepared to undergo an over-reactive explosion, in an INSTANT…  :))

LINK: http://www.wisegeek.org/why-is-a-raven-like-a-writing-desk.htm

P.S. Say CHEESE….! :)) :)) :))

The Trinket Streets Of Paris

“It shone with singular energy because I knew in my gut – in my tummy – that it would serve me well in the future. Literally!”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Near Saint-Michel| Paris | France 2015

Architecture Redémarré: La Tour Eiffel (Architecture Rebooted: The Eiffel Tower)

Diary 5: Architecture Redémarré: La Tour Eiffel (Architecture Rebooted: The Eiffel Tower)

Ladies, Gentlemen and ESPECIALLY the Children – a conspiring nod to my nephew, Mr Zack!

You must surely be fuming with thick steam out of Your ears and wearing the most frumpy grumpy face ever to be etched across anything with two eyes to be sat here still and to not yet receive the benefaction of the one most quintessential visual landmark that screams out PARIS, in a similar vein to the rousing cheers blasted out of Your granny’s vocal chords when she goes completely nuts on her fuel-injection skateboard! WOW! Yes, indeed, where has that famous observation and radio broadcasting tower, once the tallest building in the world, run off to?! Where is the EIFFEL TOWER?!

Located on the Champ de Mars, could it be that highly devious and devilish extra-terrestrial munchkins from the red planet itself, Mars, supposed that the lattice structure engineered by dear old Gustav Eiffel as an entrance to the World Fair of 1889, deserved a more finer mantelpiece in the anti-matter gravitation chambers of their leader? Could they have decided that the Eiffel Tower buzzed with the potential to be promoted to a far more prestigious use, into the most agreeable and fitting pair of…. UNDERPANTS!!!

That is precisely the as-we-speak-right-now fate of the great tower! WOW!

Ah, You think I have lost my marbles completely! Well, my treasured Reader, I do not blame You one bit! Preposterous as my claims may sound to Your delicate anatomy, I have managed to steal, at my life’s peril, irrefutable photographic evidence of the currently hilarious and disreputable, tectonically scandalous and oozingly obnoxious but undeniably admirable status of the Eiffel Tower as it flutters on the washing line inside one very, very, very big Mothership! The French authorities are lagging behind in their investigative prowess, so they are still pitifully unawares as to what hit them. On the elegant contrary, British Intelligence was always one step ahead of the game! Dear Martians, may the tower serve you well but I do advice not putting it on a high spin wash, the screws that hold those lattice seams are terribly lose – sorry – loose… :)) :)) :))

A Planck Length Epilogue:  Well, if You had perused through my previous blog You may care to remember that my technical hardware posed a prickly villainy to my creative ambitions however my fervent retort to such mitigating circumstances finally outwit the culprit of physical limitations! Capturing the Eiffel Tower in totality was a tad impossible so I executed the next best thing which involved going up close and peering at it from below with my beautifully brutish imaginative faculties, and Voilà! There, spread out in its underbelly were the most fashionably intergalactic, lacy, granny underpants that any alien leader would risk life and limb to get his bottom in! Ahem, ahem, I attach a link below to those of You who are novices to the illustrious underpants connection in the British – and of course interstellar – literary world! Giggle, giggle!

LINK:   http://books.simonandschuster.co.uk/Aliens-Love-Underpants!/Claire-Freedman/9781416917045

"Could they [Aliens] have decided that the Eiffel Tower buzzed with the potential to be promoted to a far more prestigious use, into the most agreeable and fitting pair of…. UNDERPANTS!!!"

“Could they [Aliens] have decided that the Eiffel Tower buzzed with the potential to be promoted to a far more prestigious use, into the most agreeable and fitting pair of…. UNDERPANTS!!!”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Champ De Mars | Paris | France 2015

Architecture Redémarré: Bloqué Infini (Architecture Rebooted: Blocked Infinity)

Diary 4: Architecture Redémarré: Bloqué L’Infini (Architecture Rebooted: Blocked Infinity)

Armed with a single but trusty prime lens, my electronic monocle of spectacular authority, the Leica aka ‘Laika’ 25mm, I had fully accepted at the pre-departure phase that with such an amusingly minimalist kit there would be considerable challenges and limitations, the ability for me to express my stories in the visual modality with effortless ease was out of the question.

An ever-present Vivien Maier countenance as the pillars to my outlook, my confidence and spirit was untarnished by the tools of my trade and my ever optimistic attitude to Life ensured that I adopted a stance of quirky experimentalism for the whole duration of my trip. What is essentially a brilliant lens for portraiture photography had its body supplemented and extended beyond its technical specifications using my own body, so that those around me were comically plagued by raising eyebrows as they watched a little old girl buzz around in all positions so as to catch my subject from new and interesting angles. A limitation in photographic equipment can be quickly transformed into a golden opportunity for lucrative and scintillating visual transmutations that make fun of the norm!

In my Architecture Redémarré (Architecture Rebooted) series I have built a short but beguiling collection of photographic archives of Parisian architecture, each one enshrines a humble and yet a gung-ho ethos of experimentalism as a reactionary affirmation that a sparse camera kit should not hold one back. If anything, ‘less’ is a window of opportunity for more!

The very first photograph I wish to present to You tonight is not exactly the most riveting image in the world, I concede that – giggle, giggle!!! – however I remember when these receding windows and blocks of a noisy, busy Parisian street dominated the visual hemisphere of my eyes, prompting the materialisation of a smirk. Had I been an alien being teleported to the very location that I was stood at I would be strongly inclined to think that those blocks went on forever, and ever, fiercely at war with any possibility of breaking their endless chain of cuboid shapes. The smirk came out of the realisation that in the guise of architectural fibres there was a rippling and orchestral epiphany, sent especially for me to pass onto You: True Love can be defined as an eternal endurance and that is incomprehensible to most minds because they cannot cope with its perplexing and paradoxical architecture – A Blocked Infinity…  :))

Architecture Rebooted: Blocked Infinity

“… True Love can be defined as an eternal endurance and that is incomprehensible to most minds because they cannot cope with its perplexing and paradoxical architecture – A Blocked Infinity… “

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Paris | France 2015

Je Espion Avec Mon Petit Oeil (I Spy With My Little Eye)

Diary 3: Je Espion Avec Mon Petit Oeil (I Spy With My Little Eye)

Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what You’re gonna get”, innocently spoken but wisely delivered, these words, credited to the childlike hero of the eponymous film, Forrest Gump, permanently decorated themselves across my chest upon hearing them the very first time when I was a teenager. You simply do not know what is around that corner, what monsters and demons prey in its shadows, what winged guardians stand in protective vigil, the unknown superiorly exists a breath away and it is this singular unpredictability that accolades Life with the power to radiate a constant atmosphere of spectacular drama.

Ah, I see You are rubbing Your chin in confusion, and those eyes are strenuously squinting to see how might my sudden ruminations of the uncertainty principle have bearing for the short tale I am about to tell You now. Oh how to begin to describe the scrumptious pleasure of watching You battle all the possibilities for an answer, narrowing to a single one seems like a distant prospect! Giggle, giggle! Alright, hush now, I shall reveal to You about my very own encounter with a ‘box of chocolates’, figuratively speaking that is, and I am certain that after reading my account You will return to Your personal space in the virtual world to utter under Your breath as You blissfully drown in an ocean of incredulity, “For Pete’s sake, how does Mazzy do that? How does Mazzy mirror me so well? She is like a box of chocolates, You never know what You’re blimin’ gonna get!”

Let me begin from the beginning! Late afternoons and evenings were spent indulging in casual walks through labyrinthine cobbled streets, an anonymous breeze swooshing past us at every moment for which we found ourselves now and again inquiring as to its source, for we were hardly in the vicinity of any stretch line of coast. I loved not knowing the provenance of these fleshless winds though it made me feel enormously at home as I caught myself convinced that they were a gift from someone afar, a shepherd of windswept hills.

We were heading towards the Centre Georges Pompidou, an unplanned deviation, sticking to a fixed itinerary each day was never going to be our way of doing things round here. We navigated by gut instinct, the maps squashed in our bags firmly stayed there and throughout the trip their pristine latticed papers were denied exposure to the face of daylight! So sorry! Giggle, giggle!

Spearing towards the artistic Pompidou centre a handsome Voice spoke from nowhere and my heart turned left first before finally being met by a turn of my neck, and BEHOLD! Once again my lungs were emptied of air, and yet once again that near-death sensation brought down a passionate torment of Life into my soul. YOU were spying me up! The classic Parisian icon of a snow-white mime artist with pursed lips, cosmeticized eyes and a single teardrop was massively painted on the side of a building and he – YOU – froze me in my rambling tracks with a look that pierced my chest with a milk-warm mixture of poignancy, cheek and longing. I could not refrain from smiling, in fact, in hindsight I do believe the dimple adjacent to my lips were on the precipice that stands between it and ecstatic explosion! Oh, and the cherry on top of my ‘box of chocolates’ experience was the letter ‘T’ boldly visible in the foreground of the spying visage. As a Visionary who is naturally predisposed to formulating the bigger picture, I coyly hint that he – YOU – is whispering to me, albeit in silent earnest, “TEA…”

Life is like a box of Tea. You never know WHO is spying at me”…  :)) :)) :))

I Spy With My Little Eye

“… The classic Parisian icon of a snow-white mime artist with pursed lips, cosmeticized eyes and a single teardrop was massively painted on the side of a building and he – YOU – froze me in my rambling tracks with a look that pierced my chest with a milk-warm mixture of poignancy, cheek and longing…”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Near Centre Georges Pompidou | Paris | France 2015

Les Livres Sont Des Portes A La Maison De L’Imagination (Books Are The Doors To The House Of The Imagination)

Diary 2: Les Livres Sont Des Portes A La Maison De L’Imagination (Books Are The Doors To The House Of The Imagination)

How does a fanatical bibliophile, a girl whose marriage with literature forged at the very first time her chubby fingers were kissed by the autumnal oatmeal leaves of a children’s book, possibly compose herself when she came to be stood in front of one of the most famous bookshops of the world?! I had not a clue in the world is my honest answer but I am still with breath in my lungs to tell You the tale!

Before embarking on my trip I had firmly promised to myself that I would make a special pilgrimage to a magical place only dreamt about in my daydreams, whose exterior shun with the conventional trimmings of commercial enterprise though it behaved at its core as a throbbing infinitude of mysteries and treasures waiting to be discovered by the right seeker. The fabled Aladdin’s Cave had indeed braved the voyage out of 1001 Nights into the daylight of our world, for Shakespeare and Company in my mind can only be respectfully compared to the radiance of this fictional treasure house, no other place in the real world comes even close to rivalling its unique enchantments. In short, a place to lose Oneself so that One may find themselves again, renewed.

Established in 1919 by Sylvia Beach, an American expatriate, the original location of the shop across the Seine River from where the present premises resides, sold all species of literature, of new books, old books, second hand books, and of course, books that were on offer for loan thus a friendly library atmosphere prevailed in harmonious parallel to its normal guise as a business. A further strata of delicious romanticism and mystique was added to its reputation by the fact that it quickly attracted notable names in the literary universe – Pound, Hemmingway and Joyce to mention a few – used its sheltering canopy that tolerated freedom of speech as a fertile gathering point to discuss and exchange thoughts that would go on to form the basis for works that would appear later in their respective careers.

In 1940 Nazi occupation of France forced the little shop to close, but in the manner of a fierce and individualist protagonist from the greatest of novels, the story of Shakespeare and Company did not meet its end there. It protested its right to live. It did. The year of 1951 saw George Whitman, another American expatriate, conjure from the ashes a bookshop that lovingly emulated Beach’s original concept and once again it drew prominent writers, namely the Beat Generation gang, to use the venue as a meeting point for dwelling, delving, exploring and discussing all things under the sun – of course obligatory tea was on hand to fragrance the air and palate, intensifying the urge within each member to speak their mind lucidly, unabashedly, and candidly.

Before her death, Beach formally announced that she would entrust the now legendary name of Shakespeare and Company to Whitman who faithfully did observe her wish, and thus I am anointed with blessedness today since it is these preceding string of events that has made it possible for me to share with You my time in the most amazing bookshop I have ever had the pleasure of stepping my shabby shoes in!

Painted in deep forest greens and tempered with golden yellows, the outer face of the shop instantaneously stole my breath away and I fancied the chance that a dizzy spell was on the way as I spotted the word ‘antiquarian’, because a book that has lost the sheen of its cover tends to shine the brightest by virtue of its repeated lending to the imaginations of many readers.  The rather dignified painted portrait of Mr Shakespeare hoisted up in the centre sent out a beaming seal of authenticity. Underneath it, young writers had convened to recite passages from their favourite tomes. Ah, this place, surely the souls of books come here!

Books Are Doors To The House Of The Imagination

“… Painted in deep forest greens and tempered with golden yellows, the outer face of the shop instantaneously stole my breath away and I fancied the chance that a dizzy spell was on the way as I spotted the word ‘antiquarian’, because a book that has lost the sheen of its cover tends to shine the brightest by virtue of its repeated lending to the imaginations of many readers…”

The door glinted at me and the revelation swelled in my heart that to open the cover of a book was structurally and spiritually no different from opening the doors to a house, something a Kindle gadget can never ever recreate. A warm atmospheric crypt lit with sedate lamps welcomed me into its arms and everywhere my eyes jumped to there were thickly stacked towers of books, some vertical and others horizontal, ripped and new, of every genre, they all flooded my senses and I realised that I was breathing the best breath ever, even though I was breathless!  In an incredibly cramped space buzzing with eager hunters, no leg room and bags and hips bumping into each other, everyone appeared to have signed a sacred contract in which it was fine to be endure this discomfort because we each carried a noble cause – to let a book choose us as its new Home!

I did indeed select a book but I shan’t tell You what it is, only will that be revealed if ever You and I meet for a sweet cup of tea, discussing this and that as it was so in the nights of the past. Sorry to be a tease! Giggle, giggle!

Photography was prohibited in the shop and I was compliant of this restriction until one single book stared at me from a protective pane of glass. A profound moment of the cogwheels of Destiny at work, I was tightly gripped on the spot and could not move. I had never heard of the book The Freedom Train in my life but I knew that I HAD to photograph it for YOU. My third eye chants and asserts again and again that here is a portrait of my own face, one that You had asked for although You may not remember making such a request. I wonder if my strange and awkward interest for the olden world of steam trains has just had another of its puzzle pieces given to me by Mr Shakespeare? Anyway, in the style of an intrepid spy I have successfully brought back with me a photograph of the book in question. Apologises for the slight blur and noisy grain of the image, it was a formidable undertaking to move around in that place let alone take a photograph under the cover of secrecy!

And that, my dearest and most beloved Reader, concludes my story of how I became lost in a cave of treasures only to have found myself once again, renewed… :))


LINK:  
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/734529.Freedom_Train

I Shall Lead You The Way

“… Photography was prohibited in the shop and I was compliant of this restriction until one single book stared at me from a protective pane of glass. A profound moment of the cogwheels of Destiny at work, I was tightly gripped on the spot and could not move…”

 

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Shakespeare & Company Bookshop | 37 Rue De La Bucherie | Paris | France 2015